The King George VI weekend begins at Ascot today and we have some excellent racing in store.
15:20 - Carraig Insurance British EBF Valiant Stakes
This is a fine looking Listed race for fillies and mares which has attracted a quality field.
The John Gosden trained Nathra is the highest rated in the field with a mark of 108, however, she hasn't been seen since finishing third of six in a Group 2 at Newmarket over 300 days ago. She is definitely one of the class acts in the race, and if she is fully wound up on her return, she will be extremely tough to beat. As a three-year-old, she finished fifth behind Minding in the 1,000 Guineas, before being a little outclassed in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot (another Group 1). Prior to that, she won a Group 3 at Newmarket on today's good to soft going, and it appears she will relish the conditions, which can't be said about some of her rivals.
Golden Stunner is another who has Group form, finishing second in a Group 3 at Fairyhouse last time out. She appears equally at home over seven or eight furlongs, and this Ralph Beckett trained filly brings some solid form to the table. She has won in good to soft conditions before, winning a handicap at Newmarket last year, although she definitely gives me the impression she is more comfortable when the ground is a little firmer.
Urban Fox is the highest rated three-year-old in the race, and she has contested some top quality races so far this year. She finished in mid division in the 1,000 Guineas before finishing well down the field in a Group 3 at Epsom. That race was over nine furlongs, and I think even a mile stretches her stamina to the limits. With Golden Stunner likely to trail blaze away out in front, I think this could be run at a very decent pace, therefore, leaving Urban Fax struggling inside the final furlong.
The David Elsworth trained Tisbutadream was a gritty winner of a Listed race at Sandown last time out, and this Dream Ahead filly looks a fine prospect. She hasn't encountered tuft going this soft before, but she does have wins to her name on the artificial surfaces when the going is slow, therefore, I am confident these conditions won't put too much of a dent into her speed. She also likes to make the running early on, and with her drawn right next to Golden Dream, it could develop into a battle for the lead through the first couple of furlongs.
Mittens, trained by Sir Michael Stoute, is chasing a hat trick after wins at Newmarket and over course and distance last time out. She is stepping out of handicap company for the first time today though and will need to be right at the top of her game to get involved in this.
Nathra - 2 points @ 5/2